Current and future roles of biosimilars in oncology practice (Review)
- Sofia Konstantinidou
- Angeliki Papaspiliou
- Eleni Kokkotou
Published online on: November 15, 2019
Copyright: © Konstantinidou et al.
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution License.
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Biologics have been used increasingly in the treatment and supportive care of cancer; however, their high cost places a significant burden on healthcare systems. The expiration of patents for biologics has led to the development of biosimilars, with the aim of reducing cost and increasing accessibility to novel treatments, which are affordable for a greater number of patients. Biosimilars are highly similar but not identical to the reference products; therefore, strict regulatory requirements have been formed for their approval. This ensures that there are no clinically meaningful differences compared with respective biologics, with regard to purity, safety and efficacy. In 2003, a regulatory framework for the approval of biosimilars was established in Europe, whereas the USA did not implement a framework until 2009, when the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act was formed. A number of biosimilars have currently been approved in oncology and the number is expected to rise in the near future. More than 10 years of evidence has revealed that biosimilars are safe and effective; however healthcare professionals need to be further educated to eliminate potential misconceptions and integrate biosimilars into routine clinical practice. The present review aims to provide an overview of the biosimilars used in Europe and the USA, present their main benefits and challenges, and discuss their current and future roles in medical oncology.